Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Worth Another Listen - Tears For Fears

Tears For Fears
Tears For Fears
Tears For Fears

In 1981, a couple of school buddies decided to get their own band together. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith were inspired by some of the great rock artists of the time, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and the Talking Heads, and embarked on a career as Tears For Fears, along with Ian Stanley and Manny Elias. By 1983, they released their first album, The Hurting, which is how I first discovered them. I think you could argue it was one of the best albums of the early 80s, although the sales figures compared to the follow-up, Songs From The Big Chair, can't compare. The first time I saw and heard the video for Change, I knew I was going to be a longtime fan. It just made my little New Wave heart a tad more joyous.

But in case anyone would think I was listening to a perky band, they need only to give a listen to Mad World to know differently. This was actually the first single released for the album, although I didn't find it until later. In the video, Roland and Curt are looking like moody British schoolboys, the 'modern' equivalent of the boys from the great movie Another Country. Jacob and Katie, my nephew and niece, just love the video, and are surprisingly fond of the band, sing they are both pre-teens. The song has gone on to be much covered, as there was the amazing version of Gary Jules, and a fine job by Adam Lambert a few Idol seasons ago. Here is the original.

One of my favorite songs from the album was the beautiful Memories Fade. There is a dreamy quality to it, as well as a tremendous amount of raw emotion.

Another fantastic song was called Pale Shelter, which was another hypnotic song, filled with imagery pulled from any psychiatrists office.

As I said before, the next album, 1985's Songs From The Big Chair, which just tour up the charts with song after song. From Everybody Wants To Rule The World to Head Over Heals, that record seemed unstoppable. So did the band, which proved not to be true in the long run. In 1991, the band called it a day, with Smith and Orzabal going their separate ways. But they could not stay mad forever, as they were working together again in 2000. They maintain homes on different continents, as Smith and his family live in California, while Orzabal remains in their hometown, Bath, England. Curt and Roland still tour as Tears For Fears, and are, in fact, getting ready to kick off a new tour. You can check out new dates on Curt Smith's website, here.


  1. If I were to hear a Tears For Fears song on the radio today, I would think it was current & I would be zany for it, racing home to download the tune. They are all time favorites of mine, not just because their sound reminds me of a favorite time & place, but because the music still speaks to me & thrills me. I have not seen the videos in decades. Thank you for this post!

  2. I remember them and thanks for mentioning the year they started... helps me put a lot of things in context and with sequencing of events in my life.

    These songs brought back such strong memories that I can hardly contain them. One of my fave songs from 'Big Chair' was 'The Working Hour'. My album of 'The Hurting' went missing soon after I purchased it from the Harmony House in Farmington... odd, since Tears was still considered new wave and therefore 'white boy music'. I would not have expected my Jackson's and the Commodore loving family to have hijacked that particular disc.

    Anywho, have a great day and keep up with the great music!



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